Add a bookmark to get started

/sitecore/media library/Project/dlapiper-tenant/dlapiper/EditorialDefaultImages/Abstract_Building_P_0012_2560x975
10 March 20234 minute read

Naloxone kit requirements for certain Ontario Employers

The Government of Ontario has recently announced that effective June 1st, 2023, the amendments to ‎s. 25.2 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. 0.1 (the “Act”) found in Bill 88, ‎Working for Workers, 2022 will come into force. The recent amendment requires specific workplaces ‎to provide naloxone kits to its employees in the event that an employee suffers from an opioid ‎overdose. Employers should familiarize themselves with the following information to determine ‎whether they have an obligation to provide naloxone kits in their workplace.‎

In addition, on December 9, 2022, the Government of Ontario also published Regulation 559/22, which ‎establishes requirements regarding the maintenance and contents that must be included in the ‎naloxone kits.‎

What is a naloxone kit?

A naloxone kit is life-saving medication that can temporarily reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. ‎There are two forms of a naloxone kit: a nasal spray kit and an injectable naloxone kit. ‎

According to s. 3 of Regulation 559/22, the nasal spray kits must contain the following: two doses of ‎intra-nasal spray, one rescue breathing barrier, and one pair of non-latex gloves. An injectable ‎naloxone kit contains two vials or two ampoules, two syringes, two alcohol swabs, one rescue ‎breathing barrier, and one pair of non-latex gloves.‎

It is essential for employers to ensure they conform with the Regulations, thereby, inspecting the ‎contents of their naloxone kits on a consistent basis.‎

What employers are required to have naloxone kits in their workplace?‎

According to s. 25.2(1) of the Act, an employer must have naloxone kits in the workplace in the ‎following circumstances:‎
“Where an employer becomes aware, or ought reasonably to be aware, that there may be a risk of a worker having an opioid overdose at a workplace where that worker performs work for the employer, or where the prescribed circumstances exist, the employer shall, provide and maintain in good condition a naloxone kit in that workplace; and comply with any other prescribed requirements respecting the provision and maintenance of naloxone kits and the training referred to in subsection (3).”
On December 13, 2022, the Government of Ontario released a guidance note “Naloxone in the ‎Workplace”, which further clarified the three conditions that determine whether an employer is ‎required to have naloxone kits in the workplace.‎

  • ‎“There is a risk of a worker opioid overdose”: ‎ ‎
      ‎ ‎
    • The risk of a worker opioid overdose may have already occurred in the workplace, an ‎employee may have disclosed their opioid use to their employer or the employer has ‎otherwise become aware of use of opioids in the workplace. Therefore, it is ‎foreseeable to the employer that there is a risk of a worker opioid overdose‎ 
  • ‎ ‎
  • ‎“There is a risk that the worker overdoses while in a workplace where they perform work for the ‎‎employer”:‎ ‎
      ‎ ‎
    • According to the guidance note, there must be a risk of a worker having an opioid ‎overdose while at the workplace where the worker performs work for the employer. ‎If, for example, the affected employee is on a leave of absence, there is no risk of an ‎overdose in the workplace.‎
  • ‎ ‎
  • ‎“The risk is posed by a worker who performs work for the employer”:‎‎
      ‎ ‎
    • The requirement to have a naloxone kit only applies if there is a risk of an employee ‎opioid overdose and does not apply to risks created by non-employees.‎
If all three conditions are satisfied, an employer must have at least one naloxone kit in each workplace ‎where there is a risk of a worker opioid overdose. An employer is not required to provide a naloxone ‎kit in a workplace where the risk of a worker opioid overdose is not present.‎